Predicting Oscar winners for the next year, and that too this early on, right as we bid farewell to the last season that turned to be an overall disappointing affair for me, might seem like a bit of indulgent, futile practice. However, this year’s results, as unexpected as they were with ‘Roma’ having to contend only with Best Foreign Film, and ‘Green Book’ picking up the golden statuette is testament enough to the fact that even the most calculated predictions and intelligible guesses can prove to take a U-turn when it comes to the final wines at Oscars and its jury. I am guessing that is what makes the entire process endearing, and therefore makes credible sense starting this early on.
In any case, this list is predictive by its innate nature. This is in no way even an exhaustive list of nominees for the Best Director Category, the coveted title going home to Alfonso Cuarón this year, since we are in no way soothsayers. What this might be construed as, however, is a certain list of films and directors to look out for in the coming year, and given their past films, the hype and subject matter with respect to the current film, and the cast that they have assembled, these are but intelligible assumptions. If you are a cinephile and have been even remotely following the works of one or more of these directors, you surely have reason to rejoice for their slate of upcoming films looks truly incredible. Read on.. here’s the list of best director contenders for Oscars 2020.
10. John Crowley, ‘The Goldfinch’
If you observe the season in which most Oscar contenders (and winners) release, it is easy enough to target it and realise why makers eye that window for release. Conversely, it also lets out which movies are being touted for Academy frontrunners, with a lot of major film festivals happening around that time too, that window being the months of October to November. The very fact becomes more evident as you observe the release dates of most other films in this list. Now back to predicting.
John Crowley’s last notable directorial venture was the fabulous ‘Brooklyn’, and while that film was able to generate sufficient hype for itself, Crowley missed out on a nomination for himself. Looking at the other seasoned directors on the list, Crowley may seem younger, but greater feats have shook the Academy before this, and going by the subject matter of his latest film, ‘Goldfinch’, a nomination is most likely if he is able to showcase a similar kind of sensitivity as he did with ‘Brooklyn’.
9. Steven Soderbergh, ‘The Laundromat’
The Panama papers have been in the news for quite some time now, and apart from his other critically acclaimed production this year, ‘The Report’, ‘The Laundromat’, also being directed by Steven Soderbergh — who returns to directing following a brief hiatus — aims to uncover the very heart of the tax evasion scandal that took the world by storm upon revelation. Another one of the projects bankrolled by Netflix as part of its slate of films being touted as serious Oscar contenders, Steven Soderbergh stands a fair chance of being nominated if the film performs well.
8. Scott Z. Burns, ‘The Report’
The Academy and history have both been kind to first time directors with exceptionally good films, and Burns, primarily a screenwriter and frequent collaborator with Steven Soderbergh, might just be the next example of that. His feature film debut as director, ‘The Report’, Prime Video’s big ticket window to the Academy Awards, seems carefully structured to sure-footedly appeal to the Academy voters, with its politically charged subject matter. The film opened to rave reviews at the Sundance Festival, and if everything checks out, our prophecy may just turn out to be true.